Sleep mode makes Energy Internet more energy

New control methods

Image: Energy saving mode makes Energy Internet more energy efficient
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Photo credit: Reiko Matsushita

A group of scientists from the University of Nagoya, Japan, has developed a potential solution to one of the Internet of Energy’s biggest problems, energy efficiency. To do this, they have developed a controller that has a sleep mode and only draws energy when needed.

To combat the climate crisis, large-scale power generation based on renewable energies has become necessary. One solution to meet society’s electrification needs is the Internet of Energy, which would function like the Information Internet except that it consists of energy linked through intelligent power generation, intelligent consumption, intelligent networking and cloud sharing.

When information is sent over the Internet, it is divided into transmittable units called “packets” that are labeled with their destination. The energy internet is based on a similar concept. Information tags are added to the power pulses to form units called “power packs”. Based on requests from end devices, these are then distributed via networks to where they are needed. A problem, however, is that the power supply is intermittent since the packets are sent sporadically. Current solutions, such as accumulators or capacitors, complicate the system and reduce its efficiency.

An alternative solution is the so-called sparse control, in which the terminal’s actuators are active part of the time and are in sleep mode the rest of the time. In sleep mode, they consume neither fuel nor electricity, resulting in efficient energy saving and reducing environmental and noise pollution. Although a sparse control was used with a single actuator, it does not necessarily perform well when multiple actuators are used. The problem of determining how to do this for multiple actuators is called the ‘maximum turn-off control problem’.

Now, a Nagoya University research group led by Professor Shun-ichi Azuma and Graduate School of Engineering doctoral student Takumi Iwata has developed a model control scheme for multiple actuators. The model has a wake mode, in which it procures and controls the necessary energy packs when they are needed, and a sleep mode. The research was published in International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control.

“We can see that our research will be useful in motor control of production plants,” explains Professor Azuma. “This research provides a method for configuring control systems based on the assumption that the power supply is intermittent. It has the advantage of eliminating the need for storage batteries and capacitors. It is expected to accelerate the practical application of the energy-packet type Internet.”

This research was supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Emergent Research Support Program and the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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